Thursday, August 31, 2006

a tribute...

I haven't updated my blog in awhile b/c there hasn't been much new going on. However, as I was talking to my dear friend Sarah Brown on the phone last night I was given a request to add a picture of us to the site. Following your criteria Sarah, no nose picking, no double chin shots, etc. took out about half my collection but I finally came up with one that will be a nice addition I think. It's not of us, but this shot speaks so much more. I like to call it...The Farmer and His Wife shot. I know, it's stunning. The angle, the lighting, the facial expression. People ask me often if I've ever considered going pro, I'm still considering. That would require me to quit my day job.

This particular shot, for those inquiring minds that want to know, was taken in Sarah's cozy cotton mill home (that I love) in March when I was down in NC for part of my spring break. Tosha, the "wife," used to lead the now Sr. youth girls with Sarah and me. She's since moved to the great land of Colorado. Just so you know I miss you BOTH!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

back to work

So the festivities are officially over and I headed back to work today. Dave and Aimy flew out to Maui early Sunday morning, all the family left Sunday and my vacation is over. I took some personal leave days last week Wed-Friday for the wedding, well worth it! I wouldn't have missed a moment of any of it.

It was nice actually to go back to work today and be on a somewhat "regular" schedule again for a little while. I am feeling the lack of sleep from the past couple months so I'm heading to bed, but I wanted to update the wedding before things got rolling with work and youth group. I'm tired, but it's a good tired. A lot of incredible experiences for one summer. I am blessed beyond measure.

wedding party

A shot of the wedding party. Dave's groomsmen were Marc Spear (best man and long time friend from HS), Luke and Casey (Aimy's brothers and good friends of Dave), Carl Larimer (good friend they used to fire fight together), Nate Bair (youth ministry bud). The guys wore olive green dress shirts with ties and black pants. It was a nice combo with our dresses.

getting ready...

Aimy with Micah (her sister) and Beth doing last minute primping before the ceremony. I like this shot b/c it shows her hair, beautiful!

the girls

A fun shot of Aimy and her bridesmaids. From left to right: Michelle Sande (friend from church), Micah (Aimy's sister and maid of honor), Aimy, Laura Beth (friend), Beth (friend), me (sister-in-law). We were barefoot for the ceremony on request of the bride. It was great actually to not have to stand up in heals that long! Originally it was going to be an outdoor wedding, walking barefoot in the grass.

bride and groom

A snapshot of the bride and groom on their wedding day. Aren't they good lookin'? My dad officiated the ceremony. Good call, 3 Ellers in the wedding?? There is NO CHANCE we were going to make it through without tears. Three Ellers and four Denbleykers (Aimy's sibilings) were in the wedding ceremony. I lied 5 Denbleykers, Lacea, Aimy's 2 year old neice was a flower girl.

A fun memory and tid bit for those who like "details" as Ella would say, Aimy had a handkerchief made with "Dave & Aimy Aug. 19, 2006" on it in red embroidery. So when my dad got a little choked up, she pulled it out from behind her boquette and gave it to him. He was pretty tickled. For those who know the Denbleyker boys, there was bound to be a prank somewhere in the mix. They were our comic relief. Casey started it by walking down the aisle with red glittle shakey wire heart head band on his head. He looked like a love bug. Then when dad asked if there was a token brought (rings) the groomsmen huddled and Luke and Marc proceeded to get a ball and chain out from behind the back stage and wrap it around Dave's ankle. Then they brought out the rings. All in all it was a great day. A smallish, quaint ceremony and a larger reception later that afternoon for all family, friends, co-workers and church family to stop by and visit.


As of this past Saturday I know officially have a sister! Pretty crazy really. I've never had a sister before. I've known Aimy for quite awhile, I went to youth group with her older sister and brother and have been friends with Aimy for the past 3 years or so. We are both kind of "no nonsense" girls. Not big into drama etc, and have a similar flare for humor. She's a great match for Dave. I'm looking forward to building a deeper relationship with you Aim! Love ya!

Did I mention that she was a stunning bride?? Her dress had red beaded accents and the bridesmaid dresses (as you can sort of see) were red with white embroidery and white sashes. Very Aimy. She looked like a super model with her long gorgeous curly hair.

rehearsal dinner

Friday night was Dave and Aim's rehearsal dinner. We had it at the reception hall at the Agate Inn where our family was staying. It was a Hawaiian theme b/c they are now in Maui for 2 weeks honeymooning! Rough huh?? The wedding was moved that night inside due to the incredible amount of rain fall we've been having. It turned out to be a good move, Saturday was equally as chilly, windy and rainy outside...not ideal for an outdoor wedding. The picture is of me and Aimy at the dinner that night.

dancin' fools

A continuation of our post rehearsal Burdine dance party. Beth and Kat doing an interpretive umbrella dance. Anything goes!

we R family!

So this past week since returning home has been filled with lots of incredibly fun family time. I think I mentioned in my last post that all my mom's family came up for Dave and Aimy's wedding. This is the family that we have tri-annual reunions with all over the country. In 2004 we met up in Maine. The wedding was a great time to have a reunion before our next reunion (next summer)...and oh did we live it up! I can't really explain my family, you just have to experience them for yourselves. I think Aimy was a bit overwhelmed/inundated with craziness and love, but is warming up. You've got a year before the next big shabang Aim, so all is well!

Thanks again Burdines for making the trek up here from all over! God has blessed us with a one of a kind family! Erik, blessings on ya as you seek work now. Who knows maybe you'll be up here in a year working on the slope? Beth, thanks for the late night talks on the oh so lumpy hyda-bed! You're the bomb! Allison, Miss hostess, planner're in charge of checkin' out our options in DC so we can have a girl trip before reunion next summer. I'm in! Jennifer, blessings on ya girl as you make the cross country road trip trek from the great land of CA to the tropical land of NC. May all go well with Mr. Romeo! Katherine, par le vouz france? You are a one man/girl show. Take care of Bertha for me! Britt, thanks again for the great up-do for the wedding! Blessings on your senior year! Alex, slow down your milk intake, you're towering over the whole gang! I'm definitely out of the running! Frederick, I saw a whole new side of you this trip...table dancing?? Maybe stick to circus stunts! Love and miss you all!

A little explanation of the pictures...Katherine bustin' a move solo and Katherine and Beth doing an interpretive umbrella dance.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

back in Alaska...

I'm home! After 17 hours of flying and some additional plane time waiting for all the official "okays" on the ground I'm sitting at my computer in my very own bedroom. Thanks for the prayers to get me here! I was welcomed back at the airport by my parents and 7 of my cousins. You guys are the BEST! They are all here for Dave and Aimy's wedding on Saturday. Good times are to be had! One a wedding celebration and two my family is crazy! There is never a dull moment at a Burdine reunion or get together. A blessing to wrap up the summer like this.

It's good to be back, but bitter sweet at the same time. I was reading through my journal on my flight back going over the past couple months from Mexico to now and realized just how MUCH I've experienced in this short amount of time. I am thankful for the time alone in London to process some of this experience and know that I'll still be processing as I adjust back to the "normal" eb and flow routine of life. Blessings on all those who are also starting up work again this week! Amelia, thanks so much for your card! May God place the right roommate in your path! Keep me posted.

Stay tuned for wedding news and pictures!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

on my way...

Woohoo! So far so good. I am at Heathrow and my bags are checked. My flight leaves at noon London and goes direct to LA, about an 11 hour flight. Then I hop a flight direct from LA to Anchorage...after a chunk of a layover. I don't mind the layover as long as I'm back in the states. I get in early Wednesday morning. To the Burdine clan, see ya SOON!!! It's a reunion before our reunion!

Kari...after much searching I found the much coveted "Drifter Bars" yesterday downtown. I cleaned out the store and ate one myself! Definitely down with the drifter bar, a nice mix of chocolate and caramel with other yummy somethings mixed in it! Good call!

It's hard to believe the summer is over! I'll be sending out a follow up letter sometime after I get back and settled to summarize my trips and share more specifically what God has been doing in my life.

I was reading this morning while waiting at the airport a little from John Piper's book, "Let the Nations Be Glad." The part I am in right now hits hard on PRAYER and the importance and impact of being in prayer on behalf of those who don't know Christ as well as interceding for each other as we labor TOGETHER to reach the lost. I cannot THANK you ALL enough for backing me this summer in prayer. Several times I am thanked Him for the peace, provision and effect of your prayers on my behalf. I could not have made this journey without you. Many blessings on you all!

Monday, August 14, 2006

little bit a London...

So in the midst of plane craze, I am getting around London famously well! That is quite a feet for those who know how directionally challenged I am. I got the trail, underground and bus thing down all by myself this time Carrie!

Saturday I did a double decker bus tour of London, well worth it for the novice in town. Then I took a tour of Westminster Abby. Didn't know it but Newton and Darwin are buried in Westminster.

Sunday I went to church in Peckam Rhye, very cool suburb! It's a friend of Joel and Naomi Stamoolis. Awesome family! Had lunch at their house then went home to crash, travel caught up with me.

Today, Monday I went on a tour of Buckingham Palace. The Queen Mother is on vacation the months of Aug. and Sept. so they open up part of the palace for tourists. HIGH security right now though. It took an extra half hour to get in. Then I took a train up to the British Museum. For all who have been there, WOW!! you're right it's HUGE and amazing. I could spend a good 3 days there b/c I can only take in so much info at one time. Amazing artifacts and information from ALL over the world. A must do in London!

That's I'll I've got time for right now, they're closing down on me! Love to you all!

Goin' Home??

This is a quicky update b/c I have all of 15 minutes that I begged for at the library to write one more time before I "head home" tomorrow. The current plan is that I will fly out Tuesday afternoon via British Air to LA. Last I heard 1/3 of all BA flights are being cancelled. People (at Manna House) are not typically finding out about their cancellations until the morning of. Sooooo, I'm going to call the airlines tonight and again in the EARLY a.m. my ride to the train station is at 5:00 a.m.!! I'll take what I can get. Likely I will just stay at the airport even if it's over night b/c going back and forth with luggage is exausting! It's about 2 hours from Heathrow, where I am staying. Soooooo, if I have computer access again I'll keep you posted, if not, see ya'll in Alaska SOON!! All my extended family is there now for my brother's wedding on Saturday. Lord may I just make it home in time for the wedding!!

Friday, August 11, 2006


I was reading Psalm 20 today and one verse (4) really struck me...

"May he (God) give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."

I am thankful for this trip in many ways and for many reasons. One being that I am alone and can share openly with the Lover of my soul what my heart's desires are. My desire to be in full time ministry, my desire to leave my job, my desire to pour into my youth girls this last year before they graduate, my desire to read my bible and know him more, my desire to be married, my desire to serve him wherever and in whatever capacity...thie list goes on. What a blessing and deep life giving peace to know that the Creator of my being loves me more intensely than I'll ever know and He above anything or anyone else WANTS to give me the desires of my heart...even when I don't deserve anything.

Manna House

I'm in England now and surprisingly had no significant hold ups on the way. Security lines were long and we were delayed leaving but customs in London was probably the fastest, smoothest customs I've gone through.

I'm staying the next few nights at a place called the "Manna House." James and Ella recommended it so I set it up before I left AK. It's located about 2 hours outside downtown London, but it's in a quaint neighborhood and town. Missionaries run the house for other missionaries in transit (to and from furlough) to stay at. There are a couple families there right now. One I met this afternoon. They are heading back to Quaite (sp) in a week. The couple that run it are great, very hospitable.

I'm looking forward to some down time and solitude here before I head home on the 15th. There are a couple of places I'm hoping to check out while I'm here for a debrief time with our group next year. Joel Stamoolis' dad gave me some recommendations and things to check into. Thanks Joel for having him contact me! I'm planning on hitting some of the sites of course too...British Museum, Windsor and Buckingham Palace etc. I'm at a library right now where I get 30 minutes of free internet. Woohoo for free internet!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

bomb threats...

I'm sure you've been hearing it on the news. The breaking thing this morning is terrorist threats on flights from UK to US. Security is at it's highest level right now in London. I saw it online (CNN) at Embrees this morning and they attendent told me when I checked in just now that I will only be allowed to take one small clear plastic see through bag on my flight from Johannesburg to London tonight. I can take eye glasses, money, passport and a couple other personal items and that's it. I fly out to Jo'burg in a few minutes and will fly all night to London. I guess they are threatening now with "chemical bombs" so all liquids (water, babies milk etc.) is being tested (tasted) by officials before you get on board.

They handed out free newspapers to all of us as we checked in so we could be up to date. It's all over the news too. I'm not really worried about it. If anything, it should be that much safer in London BECAUSE of the hightened security. They arrested several men in London this afternoon, but of course don't know how many are involved. I can't use my email at the airport so blogging is my mode of communication. Sooooo, an added little spice bit to the trip and prayer request that all goes smooth traveling. Talk to you all when I get settled in the bustling land of London.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

National Holiday

So today was "Women's Day." A national holiday to celebrate women. Everything shut down today, no classes, no work, no school. They had a free day for women at a local mall so James, Ella and I went and took full advantage. James didn't get in free, but he went to get out and have adult time...they got a babysitter. This particular mall, Gateway, has a huge indoor rock climbing wall (largest indoor wall in the world supposedly), a surfing water park with ocean size man made waves, an IMAX theater, put-put and more. All of these activities were free for me and Ella. We climbed the wall and went to an IMAX movie about...South African wildlife. The movie was informative, but a little anticlimatic after having just been to a couple of the featured parks in person. I didn't mention this in my last animal post, but one of the reserves we went to we saw nature in the raw taking it's course, rhinos mating in front of us. Not exactly what we were expecting to see, but when nature calls...

Back to women's day though. After the IMAX we did some last minute shopping for souveniers and headed home exausted. Next week Friday is Ella's birthday so we celebrated early tonight and gave her gifts and enjoyed chocolate fondu for desert. It was a GREAT day! Tomorrow night I start my slow trek back home. I'll be in London 4 days and then head back to Alaska for my brother's wedding!!! I'm looking forward to the celebration and time with family.

Women's Day Run

Today Ella and I ran a 5K at the Sandbank Wildlife Reserve. This is the place we scouted out last week where we saw zebra. We woke up to rain this morning and unusually cool weather. It reminded me very much of a fall run in Alaska. So I am totally intrigued by running in Africa. One interesting thing...the race was a 5K the same "distance" as our last race a couple weeks ago. Well, today's race took 10 minutes longer to run than the last one. I'm not on the official Track and Field Association but I know that we didn't run that much different of a pace. James was telling me afterward that most fun runs and "unofficial" races are not really measured they guestimate the distance and call it good. So we ran between a 5-6K race today.

The highlight you ask? There's always a highlight. A lot of the runners today were from running clubs. I mentioned this in my last race post, but people pay into a club, some more elite than others. They are assigned a number and race EVERY race with THEIR specific given number. No numbers are duplicated. In a more official race foreigners or non club members have to buy a liscense to run in a race and get a temporary number. The more hard core runners go barefoot. There were several today...on a muddy, rocky cross-country trail. Whatever works. These guys came 3 minutes after Ella and I crossed the finish line. Impressive you say...only they ran a 10K (or whatever distance the course really was) and we ran a 5K. We were thankful they didn't lap us!

Okay so I got on a tangent and didn't share my highlight. Five of the top ten runners were from the "Harmony Athletics Club." We saw them afterward and asked them if we could take their picture which they agreed to. So this picture is of me with the stellar runners that I never saw during the race. James said that this particular club is one of the largest in the country and they are known to send runners frequently to the olympics. I may be standing next to future track and field atheletes of the next summer olympics! Unlikely but you never know. Note the guy standing in the middle of the group is barefoot.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Ella took me to an orphanage today that houses babies birth to 18 months. These babies are mostly African or Colored (mix white/black) and have been abandoned or have HIV/AIDS. There are several orphanges like this all over S. Africa, but this one happens to be 10 minutes from the Embree's house. This particular orphanage just moved into a new facility that can house up to 60 babies! Over the past 3 months they had 9 adoptions leaving them currently with 10 babies. They are all beautiful little babies.

One little girl was an abortion survivor. At 6 months her mother aborted her through a method that proved unsuccessful. They had her "remains" on the table and she started crying! She has a little scaring on her face, but is one of the healthiest and brightest babies in the facility now! God is a God of miracles, even among the tiniest of people! Another miracle story is a little boy someone found in a tied off garbage bag in the trash can with the umbilical cord and placenta still attached but barely alive. He is also thriving now and doing well with the tender care of the nurses and nannies at the orphanage.

I spoke with the founder of the facility about bringing a group of youth to such a place to help out and she said that is a definite possibility. They've had groups come before and it's worked out well. I'd like to do a few mornings or afternoons there as a side ministry and experience for any youth that might come down. It's very eye opening!


Continuing in the mix of Indian culture, Ella and I went to a "bollywood" movie tonight. Bollywood is the Indian equivalent of our Hollywood. The movies are produced and spoken in Indian with English subtitles. You can rent them or go to the cinema and watch them. Ella encourged me to go to the cinema to have the "full" cultural experience and I can say now after going that it was by far one of the most...enjoyable experiences I have had in a long time! I laughed so much and so hard I was crying!!

In a nut shell the plot of the movie (and most bollywood movies) is not real deep, but it is relevant to the Indian culture, which to some degree is becoming more westernized. The experience is hard to explain but I'll try to paint a quick picture...

Imagine yourself in a theater with 150-200 other people, most if not all the other attnedees Indian. The movie starts and the plot begins to take a little shape, tyipcal guy likes girl, date, get married, hit some bumps, get on the brink of divorce, but all is resolved in the end. Okay, kind of boring you say...oh no my friends. Humor is in the eye of the cultural receiver.

All the parts Ella and I thought were HILLARIOUS, NO ONE else in the ENTIRE theater laughed at at all! They were completely engaged, intent and straight faced. The funny parts to us being the sudden "dream" where the girl in love breaks out in a dream type dance with her back up dance crew, the guy joins in with his back up crew like something off Westside Story only the dancing is a mix between salsa, Trinity Irish Dance Co., and Footloose. Then during a "dryer" husband/wife/family conflict (Indian families live together) everyone busts out laughing and Ella and I look at each other clueless. We of course break into somewhat controlled body shaking laughter (trying not to offend those around us) b/c we're NOT laughing.

At the end of the movie, which there was a 10 min. intermission for, the man sitting to my right asked if I come to bollywoods often. I told him I was just vising but Ella came more often. He proceeded to share how great the movie was and how serious divorce would have been if it had ended that way. He also said that he cried too during the movie b/c it was so touching. I think he was refering to MY crying only he didn't know I was crying b/c I was laughing. This of course tickled me to the core of my being and I had to quickly and graciously wrap up the conversation before I lost control. I don't say all this to be offensive to their entertainment or culture, but to share how different cultures CAN be and how we don't "get" things in the same way when we don't understand the little inuendos. If you ever get a chance to see a bollywood moving I highly recommend going to the theater. It will be an experience you won't forget!

Indian Culture

So I mentioned in the cultural tid bit post that Durban has the highest Indian population after the country of India itself. I'm not sure all of the reasons for this, but most of the people I've interacted with this week are Indian. James and Ella's church is predominately attended by Indian people, DBC is primarily Indian students etc.

Last night I had the priveledge to spend the night with an Indian family. Pricilla (mother) and her two daughters Anneline (27) and Cordelia (18). Pricilla's husband of late (as they would say), passed away 7 years ago from a major heart attack. Very hard for the family and his work community. I was told ahead of time that Indian people love to cook and cook a lot. It's true. They made an incredible tuna curry with rice and sausage. Like a true American I dove into my meal eating with my was effecient and got the food where it needed to go, my mouth! Ha! I watched them all begin to eat the same thing with their fingers. They mix it all up, clump it in a ball shape and literally (for lack of a better term) shovel the food into their mouths. I say shovel because as I set my fork down determined to eat like the Indians eat they promptly began laughing in unison at me for "dropping" my food into my mouth from above. I had it all wrong. Long story short, about 3 helpings later I had "mastered" the clump and shovel technique. They made the recipe milder for me so I could enjoy the meal and not be fried out. They LOVE HOT food!!

After a great meal the girls and I and a couple of guys from their church worship team sat at the table and sang worship songs together for about 1.5 hours. This was probably the greatest blessing of my time with them. Both daughters play guitar and piano and sing beautifully. We all harmonized parts. It was a low key but intimate time of praising God in their home together.

Before the evening came to a close we played "dress up." For those who know me you know dress up is one of my favorite things. Whether it be a WBC wiffle ball tournament (ref/cheerleader), youth disco night, ballerina pink marshmellow or cowgirl you name it, I'll be it! I asked the girls and Patricia if they would try on a sari for me. They decided instead to dress me up in fancy Indian clothing. It turned out to be a 3 piece modeling show. First they dressed me up in a traditional Indian "sari" which would be worn to a wedding or engagement celebration. Next they dressed me up in Patricia's wedding dress which fit like a glove. The final "piece" was a deep plum and gold "gharara"...more of a dress suit for formal business engagements. Of course they had to add "bangels" (bracelets) and other fancy jewelry. Along with that came DARK make up. Indian people pride themselves on wealth and looking beautiful. They wear a lot of jewelry and have the most gorgeous long black hair. So we had a blast pulling out clothes and taking pictures.

African Safari!

Saturday we all drove out to Hluhluwe, sounds just like it's spelled (hl-oo, hl-oo, wee), to go to a big(ger) wildlife refuge. The town is 3 hours from Durban so we left Friday and spent the night with another missionary couple Embree's know out there. It was the full on African safari! We drove with a guide in a giant safari jeep and got to see several animals...elephant, giraffe, gnu (a.k.a. wildebeast), a variety of bok, wild buffalo, hedge hog, and zebra. Lions and cheetas were no where to be found. There was a sighting from another group of wild dogs. They are rare to find and almost extinct, but in this refuge. I didn't know it but they are one of the most violent of the animals there. I also learned that hyenas (which we also did not see) have one of the strongest bites, they exert over 3 tons of pressure when they bite breaking bones like hot butter! Cheetas, as most know are one of the fastest animals in the world, BUT there is a type of deer/bok that runs even faster than a cheetah. A little animal history lesson for all you history buffs!

Sooooo, the safari. The biggest highlight for us was an elephant sighting. There are two packs in this park. One is about 100 elephants and the other is about 200. Yes, the park covers oh, a couple of acres! We spotted a few off in the distance and as we were looking at them with our binocs 3 came right up in front of us and walked out on the road! They were SO close we had to back up to get out of their way! It was AWESOME!! National Geographic in front of my face! Males are loners and hang out by themselves which later as we were leaving we saw a male up close also walk out in the street next to us. Males are huge and have giant tusks.

For those who wondered, hedge hogs are one of the ugliest animals around. There really isn't anything cute about them. They have a face and wild scrappy hair that only a mother could love.

On the safari note, Ella and the kids and I went to a nearby park yesterday (Monday) and also saw rhinos and hippos. Incredible animals!

Friday, August 04, 2006

cultural tid bits...

There are a lot of differences between South Africa and Alaska so I thought I'd add a little blip about some things I find interesting here. One biggie is they drive on the left side of the road and the driver sits on the right side of the car like in England. The majority of vehicles are manual. They have men that "watch/guard" cars in parking lots to keep down vehicle theft and you tip them 2R (rand) before you leave. Equivalent to about 40 cents.

They have wild monkeys that wonder around in their yard and roof tops...a change from moose wandering in my yard back home. Their reserve parks have animals like elephant, hippos, zebra, giraffe while Denali National Park has moose, bear, caribou, fox, wolf.

Being in the southern hemisphere their winter is during our summer and their winter temps are like our summer temps. I'm glad I'm here for the "cooler" season.

A diaper is called a "nappy", a napkin is called a "serveet" and a stroller is called a "pram," a traffic light is called a "robot," a pacifier is called a "dummy" and a zebra is spoken with a short "e" sound. Other interestings terminology: running shoes are called "takies," a car trunk is called a "boot," a windshield is called a "wind screen," a flat tire is called a "puncture" makes sense to me. My favorite that my dad will be appreciative of the blinker in your car is called an "indicator switch." My dad always refers to as that and I always roled my eyes or laughed at him, but know I know of an entire culture that calls it that!

Their currency is the African Rand and the exchange is 7-1, for every American dollar you spend 7 Rand. A little on time...Durban is 10-11 hours different from Anchorage. A funny thing, ALL of South Africa stays on ONE time zone and they do not recognize day light savings. So it could be light at 4:00 a.m. and dark at 6:00 p.m. in Durban and not get dark in Cape Town (far west side) until 2-2.5 hours later.

I learned today that Durban has the 2nd highest Indian population in the world after India itself. I was talking with Ella about it today b/c by far the most people I've met and see have been Indian. There are African and Colored people here too, but not as many in the urban area.

Another interesting thing about Durban for all my pyro family and friends...there are numerous wild fires here b/c it is so dry and warm. They let them burn out of control for the most part right next to neighborhoods and 8 lane major highways. We did see a couple fire trucks out the other day working on a fire that was burning close to a lot of eletrical wires. Ella said that is the first time in their 4 years here that she's ever seen a fire truck respond to a fire!

A couple new things I learned today (9th), babysitters are not paid here. They do it out of the goodness of their heart. They think it is crazy to be paid for watching someone's children. Another tid cannot pay for gas anywhere in S. Africa with a credit card. The government sets the price for gas for the country (fixed amount) and the gas companies lose $ by going through credit so all gas MUST be paid for in CASH! I can't remember the last time I paid cash for my gas in the U.S.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

James and Ella...

This entry has turned into a little "bio" of the Embree family. For those who don't know, James and Ella are my good friends from Alaska that are now full time missionaries in South Africa.

Ella's "job" consists of being a full time mom, wife, home school teacher, kids club leader and Sunday school teacher. She also helps plan and lead missionary workshops for kids during mission conferences. In fact she'll be leading a big one a few days after I leave. I've mentioned before in previous entries that Ella is FULL of ENTHUSIASM!! Children's ministry is a perfect fit for her. She is also a GREAT hostess!

James is a full time husband, dad and teacher at Durban Bible College (DBC). This term he is teaching Greek I & II and John. He also speaks/preaches at his church and other events occassionally. Watching him with his kids this past week I can say that James is an AWESOME dad! He loves his kids and has incredible grace and patience with them. He also helps out with school science experiments...not Ella's forte' (not mine either!).

If you can't tell from the picture they are one crazy fun couple! They are serious and grounded in their faith and work, but let loose and bring a lot of spice to the mission field.


Hannah is 6 and the oldest of the Embree kiddos. She is busy getting into her 1st grade year of home school. Working in a public school myself I have to say she is ahead of the game academically. She's one bright little girl. Hannah is the family princess and loves to dress up. She went to a ballet last night on a father/daughter date and wore a pink and purple ballet/ball gown. She was oh so beautiful! This picture was taken at a petting zoo this week.

Super Max...

Max is their 4 year old son who is totally sold on super heros and Star Wars. He has a Super Man t-shirt and we call him Super Max! Hannah loves feeding and petting the animals while Max LOVES chasing them away! He also loves playing in the kind of kid! This picture was taken at a petting zoo this past week.


Bronwyn is their 2 year old daughter and is as cute as can be. She's picked up the South African accent, a little similar to a British accent actually, and she LOVES to talk and sing! Here she's enjoying an icecream cone at the "Palace," a huge mall in Durban.

kids club

One of Ella's major ministries in Durban is kids club. She holds one at her house on Wednesday and one at a park in a neighboring suburb on Thursdays for the kids near the area of the new church plant they are helping with. I got to help this week with both days and loved it. They are taught the same story/message, but in different ways.

Wednesday there were about 11 kids that came to their house for club. Pat, another TEAM missionary, helps out too. She and Ella divide responsibilities of singing, lesson, memory verse, review etc. The kids come to her house shortly after they get home from school. They love the songs. Two of the girls that came sang "God is so Good" in Afrikans. It's a form of Dutch that evolved over time as the Dutch settled in S. Africa. These children all live in Ella's neighborhood and vary in ethnicity from white, Afrikans (Dutch descent), and African.

Today, Thursday, we did kids club in Shallcross a nearby town. This group meets at the church plant sight...a tin roof, tarp walled carport where the new church plant meets once a week. The setting is a little more challenging to keep kids engaged b/c it is outside, but they do a pretty good job. Most of the kids that come on Thursday are Indian. The church Embrees attend and the new church plant is primarly people from India.

I loved leading along side Ella and watching her enthusiasm as she told stories and led activities. She is a high energy woman! Kids can't HELP but get excited when she leads!

Durban Botanic Gardens

Yesterday Ella, the kids and I went to a nearby botanic garden. We saw a plethora of birds, cactus, trees, ferns and flowers. I had no idea how many types of palm trees there are. There were at least 8 or so there, all completely different. It was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. The picture is of the "Sunken Garden." They had different garden areas, one was called a sensory garden (very cool) and this particular one was the sunken garden b/c it was planted and landscaped below the rest of the park. The girl you see is Hannah, she's wearing her pink fairy costume. She LOVES playing dress up!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

running with zebras!

Ella and I went for a walk/run at a local wildlife refuge this evening to scope out the race course for a run we'll be doing on the 9th. This refuge has all safe animals, lots of birds, boc (antelope), zebra, snakes. We met up a few times with wild zebra and got awesome pictures right next to them! I got a little close to one once and he showed his teeth (like Mr. Ed) and kind of hissed at me so I backed off pretty quickly. I LOVE the wildlife here!!

Durban Bible College

What an incredible day today! I spent the day at Durban Bible College with James today. This is the seminary he works at. Funny story, one of the teachers at the school (missionary) heard that a speech pathologist was coming to visit and wanted me to be a part of one of his classes. Sunday night I met this man, Dr. Liddle, a missionary from Ireland. He asked if I would be willing to teach his Tuesday class on "Public Speaking." The class is actually a mix of homaletics (preaching) and the art of public speaking. He figured that a speech path must have some knowledge or training in public speaking...not exactly my profession, but close enough.

SO, I went in today and led a two hour lecture on public speaking. He left it wide open to do whatever I wanted. It was a blast! I did some interactive stuff to open it with a brief "lecture" on form and technique and then had the class share a personal story or testimony the 2nd hour. The class consisted of 9 students, all men with one young woman. Most of them preparing to be preachers. A little humbling to teach a seminary class when I haven't gone yet myself. They said they enjoyed the time and I was hugely blessed by their stories and testimonies. Amazing people from a WIDE variety of backgrounds.

I wasn't sure culturally what to expect. I asked James the night before about using humor in class and he said it would be appropriate for this group. They absolutely cracked me up! There were about 5 that were very witty and tried to play jokes on me. I gave them post cards of Alaska and shared some stories of home.

The best part of today was a sighting with a specific student I met at "tea." His name is Lincoln and he has (in his mind) significant difficulty with public speaking. He stutters and it really bothers him. It used to hold him back when he was younger. He didn't like to talk in public at all. He said he heard that I was in Durban and was praying for me to come to DBC so he could talk to me about his stuttering. I got to talk to him at tea and in class about some techniques to help decrease his stuttering. THAT IS totally my profession and up my alley, crazy how the Lord works things out! He also shared up front in class and did an excellent job. It was neat to see him do so well and be able to encourage him in his pursuit to preach.